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Tired of quoting historic Indo-European Heroes? Try these historic Indigenous Heroes for Inspiration!

One way to undo Euro-centrism is to take the feeling of pride you feel in the words of great European and realize that wow! there were some smart, heroic leaders from Turtle Island.

Now this list of great Indigenous chiefs of Turtle Island are of course in no particular order. I know these quotes are from historic leaders which in no way undermines the living, breathing First Nations heroes and Ogichidaa and Ogichidaa-Kwes we have now.

Happy Aboriginal Month!

PoundMaker (pictured)


Plains Cree (1842-1886)

“This is our land! It isn’t a piece of pemmican to be cut off and given in little pieces back to us.”


Chief Seattle


Duwamish (1978-1866)

“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? This idea is strange to us.”


Sitting Bull

(Tatanka Iyotanka)

Lakota (1831-1890)

“Each man is good in the sight of the Great Spirit.”


Chief Joseph

(Hinmattoo Yahlattat)

Nez Perce (1840-1904)

“The earth is the Mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights to it.”


Big Bear


Plains Cree (1825-1888)

“When the whitemen were few in this country, I gave them the hand of brotherhood.”


Chief Hole-In-The-Day


Minnesota Anishinaabe (1825-1868)

“Although it may cost me my liberty. I will continue to speak and act… ’til the wrongs of my people be righted.”



Shawnee (1768-1813)

“Unless we support one another with our collective forward, they will soon conquer us, and we will be driven away from our native country and scattered as leaves before the wind.”




Odawa (1720-1969)

“We are not your slaves. These lakes, these woods, and mountains were left to us by our ancestors. They are our heritage and we will be part with them to none.”


Joseph Brant


Mohawk (1742-1807)

“No person among us desires any other reward for performing a brave and worthwhile action, but the consciousness of having served his nation.”


Chief Crowfoot


Blackfoot (1830-1890)

“What is life? It is the flash of the firefly in the night. It is the breath of the buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” 

Krystalline Kraus

krystalline kraus is an intrepid explorer and reporter from Toronto, Canada. A veteran activist and journalist for rabble.ca, she needs no aviator goggles, gas mask or red cape but proceeds fearlessly...